On My High Horse

Posted: Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 11:43 am
By: Doug Lund
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“Hey, we could go through Louisville if we want to. Anybody interested in visiting Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum?” I said from behind the wheel of Big Red as we motored east.

“Sure,” came the reply from Linda and Joanie in the back seat. “Absolutely,” Denny said as he reached for the GPS to lay-in a course. Denny was the navigator on our recent trip; a thankless job..especially if he programmed-in the shortest..instead of the fastest..route and we’d wind up on barren two lane oil roads with just enough traffic on them to prevent safe passing.  

“Is it pronounced Louis-ville or Louie-ville?” someone asked. “I think they prefer Lew-ah-ville,”  That led to a whole discussion on the correct way to pronounce Missouri..with an E on the end or an “ah.”  There’s no consensus on that one..even the locals disagree. I have a son-in-law who comes from Norfolk, Nebraska. He and his family insist you pronounce it Nor-FORK. Others, though..including radio and TV announcers say Nor-FOLK.  I won’t even get into the controversy of how to pronounce the city of the same name in Virginia.

Anyway, back to Louisville. We all began to have doubts about where the GPS was leading us as the neighborhood certainly didn’t look like it was home to the place we see on TV where all the high falootin’, big hat wearin’ mint julep slurpin’ bajillionares hang out on the first Saturday in May. But then we look off to our right and spot the famous twin spires of Churchill Downs..which have been shamefully obscured since major renovations were made to the grandstand a few years ago to accommodate the demands of uber rich snobs for luxury suites.

derby spires

Our timing was perfect as a tour of the famous track was just about to begin.

 

You're greeted at the main entrance by a statue of the great "Barbaro" a thoroughbred that won the derby in 2006. Many believed him to be the greatest hope for a triple crown since Secretariet. Tragically, Barbaro shattered his leg at the Preakness and in spite of several surgeries and the prayers of horse lovers everywhere, he had to be put down the following January. That's not just a statue..it's a headstone. Barbaro is buried right there.

You're greeted at the main entrance by a statue of the great "Barbaro" a thoroughbred that won the derby in 2006. Many believed him to be the greatest hope for a triple crown since Secretariet. Tragically, Barbaro shattered his leg at the Preakness and in spite of several surgeries and the prayers of horse lovers everywhere, he had to be put down the following January. That's not just a statue..it's a headstone. Barbaro is buried right there.

Four Kentucky Derby winners are buried at the track..but this guy is very much alive. He's Perfect Drift (named after the end of my driveway when the snowplow goes by in February) who finished 3rd in the 2002 Kentucky Derby and earned nearly five million dollars during his career. Perfect Drift has a nice stable which he shares with a little white pony for the benefit of tourists who want to see a real race horse.

Four Kentucky Derby winners are buried at the track..but this guy is very much alive. He's Perfect Drift (named after the end of my driveway when the snowplow goes by in February) who finished 3rd in the 2002 Kentucky Derby and earned nearly five million dollars during his career. Perfect Drift has a nice stable which he shares with a little white pony for the benefit of tourists who want to see a real race horse.

This is the tunnel that all the horse are led through on their way to glory or defeat on the famous mile and a quarter track.

This is the tunnel that all the horse are led through on their way to glory or defeat on the famous mile and a quarter track.

No races were scheduled this day but horses were around and many left their calling card on the cushioned walkway for tourists to dodge. I include this photo for the benefit of Hemmingsen who was noted for going to the circus and only noticing the elephant poop.

No races were scheduled this day but horses were around and many left their calling card on the cushioned walkway for tourists to dodge. I include this photo for the benefit of Hemmingsen who was noted for going to the circus and only noticing the elephant poop.

I like this photo of Joanie and Linda looking down the home stretch imagining snorting thoroughbreds charging down the home stretch in the annual Run For The Roses.

I like this photo of Joanie and Linda looking down the track imagining snorting thoroughbreds charging toward the home stretch in the annual Run For The Roses.

In a future blog, I’ll take you from Louisville, where the featured racing attractions have just one horsepower.. to Charlotte and the new NASCAR Hall of Fame that has lots of  machines with 800 horsepower!   For now, though, Linda and I are off on another adventure; hosting the Keloland/Holiday Vacations tour of Alaska. I’ll have the old laptop along and look forward to sharing some of the sights and observations with you.

3 Comments

  1. dennis says:

    Just curious about your gps. I am thinking about buying a new one and have been looking at Tom Toms. Wondering what model Tom Tom you have and if it worked good on your trip.

  2. iluvsd says:

    I just purchased a Garmin Nuvi 205W at Best Buy for 99.00 plus tx. My brother who is a truck driver suggested it after fellow truckers advised him that it was easy and the best one they had tried. Read the reviews on it .

  3. Doug Lund says:

    Our Tom Tom worked great great. It’s an XL

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